- Played August 2020
- 1-4 players
- Varying pre-order cost
- 13 years and up
- What People Say
Although they’re not a common or familiar name in North America, Argyx Games (from France) has put together an impressive and growing list of in-home escape based games over the past few years. Last year they sent us a demo version of Apocalypse (a short in-home escape game from their ‘Pocket Investigations’ series). It was a little rough around the edges, but we appreciated the originality and approach they had, which meant only one thing in our minds… better games were on the horizon. And we were right! Fast forward about 18 months (plus one world-wide epidemic), and we received a demo version of their latest game Hellas. Hellas is one of two games currently bundled in their “Legacy’’ game series. From the get-go this game had us curious as to whether they built upon the lessons they learned from their Pocket Investigations series… With all that in mind, it was time to take a deeper look!
Before we begin, our comments on component quality need to be put into context. We haven’t seen the final version of the game because we were mailed an early demo version of Hellas, and as such we tried our best to assume which parts of the game were final production value, and which were just temporary fill-in. We felt like we had a good grasp on what the final components and quality level would be, and it’s fair to say we were quite impressed. In many ways this game has a comparable level of component quality as you’d find in other games we’ve enjoyed like Captain Madok’s Treasure, and most of the games from the Finders Seekers series. Coming from our team this is high praise as we very much enjoyed those in-home escape games. In Hellas you’ll find things like little trinkets, maps, brochures, puzzles, and even a message in a bottle (queue the song from The Police)! A couple things we would’ve liked to have seen improved would be the English translation and a few less paper-based items. In both cases it’s little details like these that tend to set the difference between something we considered done well, and something that is next level in production value. Nonetheless it’s safe to say most people are going to be impressed with what they see and get. Can the same be said about the puzzles?
In our opinion, we think Argyx consistently demonstrates the ability to make their in-home games feel like an escape room. And thanks to some well thought out puzzles, Hellas is equally deserving of the same praise! Hellas’ puzzles are pretty much on par with puzzles you’d find in a decent escape room. They’re original, well thought out, sometimes multi-layered, and best of all they didn’t make us feel like we needed any guidance through the puzzle mechanics. How so? Because the game plays and progresses just like an escape room! One of our members even commented Hellas’ puzzles felt the most ‘’escape room’ish’’ than any other in-home game we’ve played before. The puzzles are bound to be a little difficult for most beginners, they’re only semi-inclusive, and they don’t include team building… but there’s just something about these puzzles we REALLY enjoyed! In total there were about 7-8 puzzles and tasks which needed to be completed, but there’s enough here to keep most escape room enthusiasts busy for at least a couple hours. Ideally we’d say a group of 2-3 players is best suited for this game (with at least one person having some previous escape room experience). One other aspect we enjoyed about the puzzles was how original we had to be in finding the answers and yet nothing felt forced, awkward, or out of place in terms of the chosen puzzles or the puzzle path in general. Again, just an exceptional job with puzzle design
And did our love for the puzzles carry through in the quality of the game’s immersion? …IT DID (and perhaps even added to it)! Nothing in this game seemed out of place or artificial, which in and by itself is impressive. We felt like we were genuinely on an adventure that made sense the whole way through. The story was well developed throughout the entirety of Hellas (thank you!). This helped maintain the wonder and excitement of not knowing what was coming next, but staying motivated enough to find out! In turn, this lead to a feeling of joy each time we solved a puzzle or completed a task because it helped progress the story further. When the story (or immersive environment) of a game increases your motivation to complete a task, you’ve got some good immersion! Thankfully some of the more immersive components were included in our demo copy of the game. Some were so realistic, we didn’t even know if they were ‘fake’ or not until we got to those points in the game. Hellas did such a good job of pulling us into the moment. Having said that… it’s important to keep in mind a few things. First, if you plan on having more than three players, you should know it’ll probably come at the expense of the immersive experience. Without the opportunity to frequently touch, look at, and engage with the components Hellas would probably ‘feel’ different (disengagement). It’s also important to note you’ll want at least one experienced escape room player in your group because as we mentioned earlier, this game follows a familiar pattern and style you’d see in many escape rooms. We’d also suggest a soundtrack of some sort playing in the background. It could be simple ambiance from a Greek harbour town, or if you prefer some traditional Greek music that makes you feel you’re roaming the lands of Crete. Either way, it’ll definitely make a really good immersive experience even better. Very few in-home escape games include soundtracks which is a shame. Anyways, if immersion is a must for you, then Hellas is definitely among the upper tier!
So what did we think overall? We REALLY liked this game. The team for the most part wavered between liking it a lot and loving it. For those who felt a bit taken out of the moment by playing through a demo copy, it was a really good game, with good puzzles, and some solid immersive elements. For those of us who didn’t really care about playing a game with some unfinished components, we couldn’t have been happier with the story and seamless transition from puzzle to puzzle. Naturally the scores reflect a balance of all these perspectives, but it’s definitely our recommendation that if you like escape rooms you need to try Hellas (as part of the Legacy bundle by Argyx). With each new series of games these folks produce it just keeps getting better and better… we can’t wait to see what’s coming up next!
We want to hear your thoughts on this game! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!